Wednesday, November 20, 2013

It's All About The Averages

In a continuation from the previous post, last week was a similar story.  I worked on Monday, and it was an okay day.  And then Tuesday, I showed up at the garage where I waited and waited and waited only to go home empty handed after sitting in the cold for 4 hours.

All this waiting gets to be pretty mundane.  And I've been getting to know a couple of the other drivers a little better and we have great conversations.  But still, all the waiting gets frustrating.  I have been saying I was going to do it for a while now, but last week I finally brought a hoop with me to keep me busy while I wait.  It's a custom made taxi hoop, actually.  Made for me by my hooping teacher, Amy.  But I finally busted it out and its been great.

A lot of the guys at the garage got a kick out of it.  It's not every day someone at the garage busts out some moves on a hula hoop.  I made myself get over the embarrassment though, and hooped away.  And it was awesome.  Not only did it kill a LOT of time, but it kept me moving and warm, as well as made me exercise when I would otherwise be sitting on my butt.  So yeah, that's been pretty great.  So glad I decided to bring it to the garage with me.
 I decided this week since I have been having not such great luck getting a car on Tuesdays, that I would work Sunday and Monday instead of Monday and Tuesday.  I had to kick myself in the butt to get myself to the garage on Sunday.  There were other things I wanted to be doing, but I made myself work.  And I was so glad I did!

I made it out of the garage a little early, and headed into the city.  On my way, I got hailed near Grand Army Plaza and the guy needed to go into the East Village.  This was awesome.  I was heading that way anyways, so why not get paid for it!  I could tell it was going to be a busy night.  It was a bit gross out weather wise, so people didn't want to walk.  And being a Sunday evening, people were coming home from their weekends.

As soon as I dropped the first guy off, a woman flagged me down and I took her right back into Brooklyn.  She was just going to Williamsburg though, so thankfully it was easy to get back into Manhattan.  From there, I couldn't stay empty!  It was great.  And everyone was really nice.  At one point, I picked up a couple and they were headed to JFK.  Traffic wasn't too bad getting there, and I didn't have to wait long at the airport before getting a fare back into the city.  And it was pretty funny because the people I picked up at the airport were going to the same block that I had picked up my fare to the airport on.  They weren't as amused, but i thought it was funny.  
Sitting in my taxi, waiting in the JFK taxi lot.
I stayed busy for a while, even had some bigger fares.  Was all over the place.  Brooklyn, Queens, Uptown, Downtown.  It was a good night.  At around midnight, I had just gotten back over the 59th st bridge, and a woman flagged me down.  She was headed to Rego Park.  I brought her home, and decided since I was so close, I would call JFK and see what they were like.  The recording said that as of midnight, the lot was at 40% and busy.  I decided to head over.  

Best move ever!  I got there and they were well below 40%.  There were probably 4 lanes of taxis(the lot has about 45-50 lanes total).  And they were moving.  Cars were being dispatched faster than new cars were coming in.  So I was there for all of 10 minutes before heading off to a terminal.  And I was lucky and got a nice fare right back into Manhattan.  Three JFK fares in one night is awesome.

From there, I kept getting lucky and finding fares, which on a Sunday night after midnight isn't always easy.  But I kept getting them.  Even in Brooklyn.  I picked up a fare in the East Village into Williamsburg.  And then from there, I picked up another fare into Bushwick.  And then from Bushwick, two girls ran down the street after me, and they went back to Williamsburg.  And then in Williamsburg, I got another fare!  I seriously was planning on calling it a night after that first fare to Williamsburg, and just wasn't able to!  I wasn't planning on staying out so late, but I didn't get back to my garage until 3:30am.  And by the end of it, I was thrilled that I worked that night.

Monday was less prosperous.  I got out of the garage a little late because my car for the night needed a new set of brakes.  So by the time I got out, it was a little after 5.  And it really wasn't busy at all.  I had a few okay fares, but for the most part, it was slow, and the few fares I did manage to find were usually small.  
Waiting for a new pair of shoes.
People were nice for the most part, though nobody really talked much to me.  I did have one awful woman with her two daughters.  You could tell these girls were rotten.  Literally one girl forbade her mother from buying a particular apartment...  She must have been about 13-14.  And the mother was a space cadet.  When she finally gave me an address, she would ask every few blocks exactly where we were(rather than, you know, looking out the window) and when I brought them to the exact address that she had given me, she was asking ME if this was such and such restaurant.  I told her I didn't know what restaurant it was, but this was the address.  She then said that the restaurant moved and where was it.  I Told her again, I wasn't sure about the particular restaurant, but this was the address she gave me.  Meanwhile it was a very narrow street and there was a truck and line of cars waiting to get through, and the woman and her daughters took a hundred years getting out.

Because it was so dead, I ended up staying out until 4am just to bring in less than other nights where I stay out til 1:30.  I know you have to look at the big picture, and if you count the success of my previous night, I did okay over all.  But it is still very frustrating when you stay out really late, bust you butt and come home with a lot less than usual.  

But the holidays are coming, so things will pick up much more.  The city is already lit up with a lot of the holiday decorations.  So I am looking forward to the busy season.  I just wish the Taxi TVs weren't playing Christmas music already!

If you are interested in a hoop or hooping classes, check out my teacher Amy Rogers at The Hoop Movement.


Imagine You Are Reading This A Week Ago!

The following post was written over a week ago, and I just spaced on posting it.  So pretend you are reading this a week ago.  There will be a newer post coming too.

I have been driving the past few weeks, but getting a cab has not been easy.  My first week back, I got a cab two days in a row, no problem.  The next week, i showed up to work several time only to be told that there was no cab for me those days.  The next week, I showed up on Monday and got a car, but then Tuesday it was the same story and then Wednesday.  Sometimes our dispatch guy would give me the courtesy of telling me flat out when I showed up that I wouldn't be getting a car, but sometimes I would sit there for hours hoping to get a cab only to be waiting for nothing.  This week again, I showed up on Monday and got a cab, but Tuesday it wasn't looking promising.  But after the usual dispatch guy went home for the day, I was about to give up when one of the other guys who works dispatch found a car for me to use.

It is frustrating.  You show up and want to work, and waste a good chunk of your day waiting around for a car that you never get, and don't get to work.  It took a lot of kicking myself in the ass to get back to work, and now that I am trying, its really disappointing to get told I can't.  And it seems more like it is a game that the dispatch guy plays for his own amusement.  Like he gets to show you who is in charge by giving out and not giving out cars.  The last day when the other guy got me a car, a whole bunch of drivers were waiting for hours, and when he left for the day, there were still 10-15 cars he just didn't give out.  Because he does what he wants and tough shit if you don't like it.

Now that little rant is over.  Not anything much happened on the few shifts i was able to work.  I did see something really cool, for me anyways.  I was driving last week around the East Village later at night. I was about to make a turn when I noticed the car in front of me.  It was a KISS Mini Cooper.  For people who know me, this is a big deal for me.  I am a pretty big KISS fan, so I had to get a closer look.  I followed the car down the next block when they pulled into a space.  I pulled up next to them to tell them how much i loved their car.  I ended up taking a few photos of the car and thanked the two guys before getting back in my cab and heading off on my way.
This past Monday was a mixed bag.  It was busy and i was picking people up left and right, but it wasn't an easy shift.  It was one of those nights that even if the city doesn't have much traffic, no matter what, every time you turn a corner you hit traffic.  It was frustrating.  But overall, I was making money and people were decent.  Until I picked up this one man.

I picked up a man who hailed me, and he told me we were heading to Brooklyn.  It was getting closer to the time when Brooklyn Bridge construction begins, and I know that leads to nothing good.  He asked me what route I was taking, so I told him Manhattan Bridge, unless he would prefer a different route which i would be happy to take.  But he told me that was fine, and then got on his phone which he was on for a good part of the way.  I headed towards the bridge in a similar route to what i normally take.  Normally, it its a pretty quick way, especially at this time of the night.  But on this night, there was new construction at a big intersection.  And this caused us to get stuck for a few minutes.  At this point he started to huff and puff about which way I was going,and I did also at this point apologize for the traffic, as it wasn't there when i had passed by the same spot about 30 minutes prior.  We were only stuck for a few minutes before we were on our way, and flew the rest of the way to his destination.

When we arrived, he berates me, telling me that this was the most expensive trip to there he had ever had and didn't understand why on earth I would take that way.  I, at this point, pointed out to him I did tell him before hand which way I was going to take and he said okay.  In a huff he gave me a "yeah, but still".  He gave me exactly the fare and DEMANDED a receipt, which i happily gave him and being as sickeningly nice as I could be, told him again how sorry I was that he was displeased with his service and told him to have a fantastic night.  Based on his phone conversation where all he did was complain about some other service he had that he was displeased with, i realized he is one of those people who wants to complain about everything.  But I am sorry.  You don't get to agree to a route at the beginning of a trip and then complain about it at the end of the trip because we hit traffic.  This is New  York.  Sometimes you hit traffic you weren't expecting.  Get over it!  He put me in a pretty bad mood after that, but at least i was able to get a fare back into the city.

Tuesday was unexpected.  It was the day I was waiting for a car forever, and was about to give up when I got a car.  I ended up leaving the garage over an hour later than usual, though, so I was sure the night would be awful.  The beginning of a night shift is where you will make most of your money, and if you miss out on it, it can sometimes be hard to recover.  But I got into the city and things stayed busy for a while.  

Just when I thought things were slowing down, I pick up a nice woman with two little white fluffy dogs.  I am always excited to have dogs in the cab, so i was talking with her about the dogs as we were headed to her destination, which wasn't very far.  She asked if I ever went to the Bronx, which i figured she was just making conversation, but then she asked if I would wait for her while she dropped off one of the dogs and then take her and the other dog up to the Bronx.  I told her no problem.  She was so nice.  We chatted the whole way up and the dog was very well behaved.  And super cute.  turns out she was taking care of the dog after the original owner passed away.  So sweet.  She was so great as a passenger, and gave a very nice tip as well.  And after dropping her off, i even had another fare up in the Bronx with two little old ladies who had been working the polls all day for the election.  So picking up this lady and taking her to the Bronx ended up making my night!  seriously, without that fare I don't think my night would have been that good, but it turned it around.

By the end of Tuesday, I had been to 4 out of the 5 Boroughs, and had nice people the whole evening.  And even after getting a late start, I made more than the night before.  So it all worked out.  Why can't every night be like that?

KISS Mini from the back.